Friday, 4 February 2011

Don't be defeated

Oliver Ash
One thing I have learnt from being involved in professional football and rugby clubs is how much it hurts losing. It’s simply gut-wrenchingly awful.

For at least 24 hours after a defeat I am totally unbearable to be with and that’s saying something. My poor family has a hard time of it. At least with Maidstone I’m not watching it on TV, as is the case occasionally with Brive. During the broadcasts I transform into some sort of demon out of a Harry Potter film, a screaming, venomous monster clearly not from this planet, spraying forth forbidden words that the children produce over breakfast the next morning to my shame.

A few days ago at home in front of the TV, those same children sitting excitedly on the sofa next to me, I watched the Brive team lose to Bayonne in a relegation scrap as depressing as some of our own recent performances. At one stage I found myself yelling at the referee loudly enough for him to have heard the advice 400kms away. I looked around to see my littlest boy crying: “Daddy I get scared when you’re shouting”. I didn’t want to admit to him that I scare myself with such moronic behavior. It’s just that suffering defeats when your heart, soul (and wallet) are intimately tied up with the team you are watching is anguish itself. It was so much more satisfying playing and not just watching, I could get rid of my frustrations by kicking the ball or an opponent, or, on one occasion, a spectator…

Last Tuesday’s defeat to Tonbridge was more of the same. It felt like the whole crowd (apart from the singing Tonbridge supporters that is) was subdued and fed up. It is a dreadful losing spiral we’re in and it’s hard to change things around. It can still be done, there are some encouraging things to latch onto, we have some excellent players on board now but something needs to click very fast or we shall run out of time. After three years’ struggle at this level we are all in need of a good long winning run again. I hope it starts on Saturday.

This Saturday there is an important meeting with supporters. My apologies for not being able to make it. I have other commitments across the Channel. I’m sorry to miss a chance to debate all the issues concerning the new stadium with everybody.

We have only just started talking seriously to a few interested parties about the capital raising scheme. Nobody has yet ended a meeting by slipping a big bag of cash across the floor towards us (or if they did Terry has been keeping it rather quiet) but it is early days.

However we know it is not going to be easy to find investors, who accept our arguments and conditions and with whom we are also comfortable as partners. Whatever the outcome of this process over the next few weeks we are going to do our damnedest to find a way of financing the new stadium.

It is therefore important for us to see that the supporters are still right behind the stadium project and prepared to dig deep into their pockets to fight for it. By this I don’t just mean the faithful few hundred, who deserve medals ( or even better a stadium in town) for all their efforts, sticking with the club after so long in exile, but other ‘occasional’ supporters, the ones who all reappeared when we played Folkestone in a key game a couple of seasons ago.

We will be asking you all to make another mega fund-raising effort in order to give us the impetus to push on because then Terry and I will have no doubt how important this project is to every one of you.

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